Discussion from recent 'Career Progression Pathways for Retrofit' Workshop
Catherine Wall

On November 26th, 2021, DASBE held an interactive workshop entitled ‘Career Progression Pathways for Retrofit’.

Career Progression Pathways for Retrofit Workshop
Career Progression Pathways for Retrofit Workshop

Attendees included retrofit companies (One Stop Shops), educational bodies and policy makers, who came together to discuss future programme development and career pathways.  Thanks to all those that attended and contributed to a great discussion on retrofitting careers and training.

Following a DASBE project presentation, the group split into four workshops to consider the pathways for the following groups:

1. Retrofit Workers 
2. Retrofit Crafts 
3. Retrofit Commission 
4. Retrofit Design 

A number of discussions were held, and each group explored the following questions:

1. Where are the current jobs?
2. What type of careers are available?
3. What skills are needed?

Groups 1 and 2 (retrofit workers and crafts) highlighted the shortage of plasterers (wet trades in general) and identified the requirement for more plumbers, heat pump installers and window installers. Groups 3 and 4 highlighted the need for experienced energy retrofit site supervisors, coordinators, and engineers.

A suggestion from the group discussions, is to introduce accredited modules aligned with apprenticeships. An example of this would be heating systems installation which can lead to a plumbing apprenticeship or a career in energy retrofit installation and advisor/coordinator with energy deep retrofit analysis skills.

Training provision and skills gaps in retrofit was also discussed by each group. There are many manufacturers and product provider CPD training available across all groups. However, all groups suggest shorter accredited flexible training is needed at a reasonable cost. There is a requirement for retrofitting to be integrated into existing programmes at all levels. It is well known that there is a shortage of plasterers. One suggestion was that this craft should be relabelled as an external wall installer. Other skills required include window and door installers, retrofit installers, retrofit supervisors and advisors.

Future training and career opportunities was also discussed. Young people are globally connected and look for life-long learning opportunities, with career toolkits to help them decide on the best career. Energy retrofitting can be perceived as a green, clean and modern career incorporating climate change actions and digital technologies. However, it is important to provide flexible short training certs as refreshers, upskilling or up-to-date programmes.

It is important to attract people into the sector and communication is essential through starter packs for school levers, clarifying what green and energy retrofit is and what it entails with short taster courses. Use incentivised schemes to employers to release staff for upskilling with careful; messaging making energy retrofitting interesting and a viable choice as a career.

To view a table that shows the discussion in each group in more detail, follow this link: Career Progression Pathways for Retrofit – table

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